It wasn’t just the chapter devoted to eggs or Melissa’s dreamy hair that peaked my interest, but the Whole30 concept of eliminating and reintroducing ingredients from your diet and acknowledging how our relationship with food affects our health, lifestyle and wellbeing. Enter our Whole30 meal plan, recipes and recap.
“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.” – Whole30
The Whole30 first caught my attention when I heard the OG Whole30-er, Melissa Hartwig introduce the program. It wasn’t just the chapter completely devoted to eggs or Melissa’s dreamy hair that peaked my interest, but the concept of eliminating and reintroducing ingredients from your diet and acknowledging how our relationship with food affects our health, lifestyle and wellbeing. Fast forward a few years later, we’re thrilled to celebrate Philip’s 2nd and my 3rd round of completing the Whole 30.
Whole30 Meal Plan Tips
1. Be Realistic about Dates:
For us we’ve found March and September are the best times to do a Whole30. While January is their biggest challenge month, like most resolutions it’s a quick fix that probably has more failed attempts than any other month. With February only being 28 days, it’s not even a full month, plus Valentine’s Day without wine does seem a bit torturous. March is key – no big holidays, it’s got 31 days meaning you can start on the first of the month or end on the last day of the month and with the arrival of spring it’s the perfect excuse to spring clean post winter.
2. Embrace Social Settings:
While social settings may seem daunting during a Whole30 it’s important to remember why you’re doing it. Having a standard response and answers to the many questions that you’ll be asked is half the social battle, but also bringing your own dish/drink to any occasion is very helpful. Not only is this a great way to ensure you always have something to eat, but also allows others to try your dish and make the case for why Whole30 dishes are awesome.
3. Always be Prepared:
Being prepared is just as important inside as it is outside your home. Whole30 meal plans are a wonderful way to prepare every single meal for the week from breakfast, to lunch, dinner and snacks. Using your completed meal plan template and your market list template, go through each recipe and dish you’ll be making then create a Whole30 compliant shopping list for smarter grocery shopping.
Roasted Cauliflower Huevos Rancheros
A delectable twist on the Mexican breakfast dish, our Roasted Cauliflower Steak Huevos Rancheros swaps out the traditional tortilla and subs in spicy chorizo, avocado and jalapeño in addition to the classic over easy egg yolks. Get the recipe here.
The Crispiest Oven Baked Fries
This simple and delicious recipe guarantees crispy oven baked fries every single time, and are as addictive as any takeout paper filled bag. Get the recipe here.
Kale & Sweet Potato Stew with Cashew Cream
Light and creamy from the cashew coconut sauce, our Kale & Sweet Potato Stew is comforting, hearty and the ultimate dish to add to your meal plan rotation. Get the recipe here.
Crispy Chicken Puttanesca
This one skillet chicken puttanesca highlights the trifecta of olives, capers and tomatoes with the crispiest, cracking chicken skin ever. Just be sure to pack enough for tomorrow’s lunch because there won’t be any leftovers. Get the recipe here.
Roasted Cauliflower Beet Hummus
This roasted cauliflower beet hummus is a bean-free dip that is as delicious as it is visually beautiful. Intense flavours and intense colours makes this the ultimate spring forward dish. Get the recipe here.
Whole30 Recap: Philip
It really isn’t that hard, there are worse things. Admittedly, from the second Mystique mentioned the Whole30 I immediately thought it was another trendy diet meant to help us lose excess weight while gaining misery from the foods we couldn’t eat. It took a year for me to understand the program, and in between I had seen the result of Whole30 on family members who completed the challenge and genuinely were better for it.
If I had to plot my Whole30 journey on a grid, it would slightly resemble children’s artwork; large scribbles of ups and downs, and peaks and valleys. Mystique and I lead a healthy lifestyle as it is – our main sources of sugar comes from honey and maple syrup, so I was surprised when my body initially reacted with headaches but saw changes in my weight and psoriasis within the first few days.
As the weeks passed, the program became easier and easier to adjust to. When I craved chips and chocolate, I had fruit. When I craved bread and oats, I had avocado. As I write about the changes I’ve seen since the Whole30, it’s a bittersweet moment of pride, and a tiny bit of I can’t wait to eat cheese again. Overall, I have increased energy, my psoriasis has cleared up, and never have I had as complete of sleeps as I have over the last 30 days. I truly believe the Whole30 can benefit everyone in a unique way. Trust me, it isn’t hard. Fighting cancer is hard.
Whole30 Recap: Mystique
Would I recommend the Whole30? Yes. Was the Whole30 worth it? Yes. Would I do the Whole30 again? Hell yes. Before we began the challenge, I was less worried about removing food staples like chickpeas and cheese from our diet and more worried about how we were going to keep up with our kitchen inventiveness.
Funny thing is, when you no longer have the comfort of familiar ingredients, you’re forced to amp up your creativity and ability to see foods in different perspectives. This Whole30 challenge didn’t just test our mental and physical ability to remove comfort foods, but challenged us to test our creative thinking and critical skills in the kitchen as home cooks.
43,200 Minutes, 720 Hours, and 30 Days later, my skin has cleared up, my energy level has increased, and my ability to focus and process has completely evolved. Plus, I can’t stop humming Destiny’s Child Survivor every time I’m reminded of completing the challenge.
The biggest feat I got from this challenge was fully grasping that this isn’t a diet but a long-term lifestyle change. To me, the Whole30 is the best back pocket secret that will forever influence my food choices while gracing my bookcase as the most well-loved title on the shelf. I might even let you borrow it, if you ask nicely.
Chef Sous Chef